How long does it take to get 6 different health degrees and how much do they pay

(Staker) – The demand for health services is increasing.

After COVID, more people are choosing to focus more fully on their health. According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll for the Samueli Foundation in May 2020, 80% of people reported that they would try to focus more on self-care after the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixty-four percent reported focusing on their mental health more than before.

People are also getting older and living longer. As baby boomers age, they need more medical care to manage health problems such as chronic diseases. At the same time, many of the doctors who can treat these patients are reaching retirement age. The Census Bureau reports that 1 in 6 people in the United States was 65 or older in 2020. By 2034, the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that the country will have a shortage of 37,800 to 124,000 physicians .

Vivian Health compiled information on health care programs across the country, seeking data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to outline the deadlines, prerequisites, and potential jobs and earnings for six different health care degree programs.

The healthcare field encompasses a wide range of professions, such as pharmacy, optometry, medical transcription, EMTs, and paramedics. Other health care careers include dietitians and nutritionists, dentists and orthopedists, and many more. Some health care careers require only minimal education, such as a degree or certificate.

If you are interested in a career in the healthcare industry, keep reading to learn more about possible jobs in this field.

Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune // Getty Images

Doctorate in Medicine

  • Time to complete: 4 years
  • Typical prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
  • Typical job: Doctor ($227,180 average annual earnings)

A Doctor of Medicine degree is one option for students interested in the health care field. Medical school involves a myriad of training, including psychology and biochemistry courses and rotations later in the program. A doctor must complete about three to seven years of residency training and obtain a license in the state in which he plans to practice. There are different types of doctors, such as family medicine doctors and emergency medicine doctors.

Three nursing students look at a model of a spine.

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Nursing Degree (Associate or Bachelor)

  • Time to complete: 2-4 years
  • Typical prerequisites: Diploma or GED
  • Typical Job: Registered Nurse ($81,220 average annual earnings)

Another possible path for students who wish to enter the medical field is to pursue a nursing degree. Students can earn an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or diploma through a nursing program. Students in these programs can expect to take classes such as microbiology, psychology, and anatomy. A registered nurse must be licensed and may also obtain certification in a specific specialty, such as gerontology or ambulatory care.

Two medical professionals looking at a brain scan on a tablet.

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Degree in Radiologic Technology (Associate or Bachelor)

  • Time to complete: 2-4 years
  • Typical prerequisites: Diploma or GED
  • Typical Job: Radiologic Technologist/Technician ($65,140 Average Annual Earnings)

Students may wish to pursue a degree in radiologic technology, which can be obtained through an associate or bachelor’s degree. This program includes classes in imaging evaluation and pathology. In most states, a radiologic technologist or technician must be certified or licensed. The career is expected to grow by 6% between 2022 and 2032.

A woman in blue medical scrubs sits in front of a computer and looks through documents.

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Health Information Technology (Certification or Associate)

  • Lead time: 9 months-2 years
  • Typical prerequisites: Diploma or GED
  • Typical Job: Health Information Technologist/Medical Registrar ($58,250 Average Annual Earnings)

A certification or associate degree in health information technology is another educational path students can take. Courses in the program include medical terminology and medical ethics. A health information technologist or medical registrar may need certification for this type of work. The job outlook for this career has a remarkable projected growth of 16% between 2022 and 2032.

A woman in blue deals with documents at a table.

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Diploma in Practical Nursing

  • Time to complete: 1 year
  • Typical prerequisites: Diploma or GED
  • Typical Job: Licensed Practical/Licensed Vocational Nurse ($54,620 average annual earnings)

Some prospective students may wish to obtain a Diploma in Practical Nursing. An LPN/LVN program includes classes such as fundamentals of nursing and pharmacology, and students receive supervised clinical experience. Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses provide basic health care to patients, such as monitoring vital signs and maintaining medical records.

A medical professional takes the patient's vital signs.

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Medical Assisting (Diploma or Associate’s)

  • Lead time: 10-20 months
  • Typical prerequisites: Diploma or GED
  • Typical Job: Medical Assistant ($38,270 Average Annual Earnings)

A diploma or associate degree in medical assisting is another possible educational path. Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical duties such as scheduling appointments at the front desk and taking patients’ vital signs in the exam room. A medical assistant may need to be certified, and job prospects for this career are expected to grow by 14% between 2022 and 2032.

Story editing by Shannon Luders-Manuel. Copy editing by Kristen Wegrzyn. A selection of photos by Lacey Carrick.

This story originally appeared on Cheers to Vivian and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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